Energy Links addressed energy poverty in East Africa and Mali by forging links between providers of renewable energy, (especially solar lamps and biomass briquettes), and financial services providers (savings groups and microfinance institutions) to enable families far from the energy grid to enjoy access to clean energy.
In the developing world, using a lamp or cooking the evening meal is not as simple as finding the nearest electricity outlet. Energy sources are often limited, and for 2 billion people around the world, that means daily use of kerosene, charcoal or firewood – which can be hazardous, expensive, and damaging to the environment.
Households in subsistence economies often spend as much as 30 percent of their income on lighting and cooking fuels. Children suffer from indoor smoke, and the environment suffers from the emission of greenhouse gases and deforestation. As the developing world advances economically, pro-poor, sustainable energy solutions are needed – and they exist!
The Energy Links project was conceived and executed by the Center for Financial Inclusion at Accion, financed by USAID’s Microenterprise Development Office (through Academy for Education Development’s FIELD Project, now managed by FHI 360) and the Wallace Global Fund. The report was prepared by CFI’s David Levaï, Paul Rippey, and Elisabeth Rhyne, with substantial input from April Allderdice of MicroEnergy Credits.